Stricter Covid 19 lockdown measures announced for seven wards in Pendle and Brierfield

The government has added further stricter measures to the Covid 19 lockdown in Pendle today.

The new measures, seen as a targeted intervention, have been instigated by the Department of Health and Social Care in a bid to curb the continued spread of coronavirus in certain areas of Pendle.

Seven wards in Pendle, covering Nelson and Brierfield, have been put under the same tough new regime.

The restrictions remain unchanged in Burnley.

Parts of Pendle and Brierfeld have been placed under stricter Covid 19 lockdown measures

Today's changes are the first time the blanket constraints on the five East Lancashire boroughs, Greater Manchester and parts of West Yorkshire have been varied.

The Pendle wards affected are Bradley, Clover Hill, Walverden, Whitefield, Marsden, Southfield and Brierfield.

Schools will still open and residents of the area affected by the tighter restrictions will still be able to go to work including at Nelson Lomeshaye Industrial Estate. Businesses including restaurants, pubs and childcare including nurseries will remain open.

Pendle ranked fourth in the country for recorded number of cases with 59 new cases and an infection rate of 64.1, down from 94.5.

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In the latest data tracking daily cases, there were 17 positive tests in Blackburn with Darwen in one day and 13 in Pendle.

In Burnley the infection rate dropped from 40.5 per 100,000 to 18.

The Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has reiterated his support to each affected area and said he is aware of the personal sacrifices that many have made to help reduce rising infection rates, with huge efforts apparent across the country demonstrated by major increase in local testing, contact tracing and community engagement.

Mr Hancock said: "To prevent a second peak and keep COVID-19 under control, we need robust, targeted intervention where we see a spike in cases. The only way we can keep on top of this deadly virus is through decisive action led by the people who know their areas best, wherever possible through consensus with a local area.

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"Working with local leaders we agreed further action in Oldham, Pendle and Blackburn.

"It is vital that everyone in these areas follow the advice of their councils, and abide by their local rules carefully.

"Our approach is to make the action we take as targeted as possible, with the maximum possible local consensus.

"To do that we are introducing a new process to increase engagement between local leaders, both councils and MPs, with the aim of taking as targeted action as possible.

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"This will allow local councils to focus resources onto the wards which need more targeted intervention in order to drive infection rates down, and gives local people a stronger voice at the table."

Despite dedicated local efforts, evidence of rising rates in areas remain, and in close collaboration with the local areas, it has been decided that from midnight tomorrow, local residents in the wards listed in Pendle should not socialise with anyone from outside their household.

It does not prevent people from shopping, going to work or attending childcare settings, including schools, which open from September 1st.. But it does mean any social activities indoors and outdoors can only be shared with people that you live with and in your immediate household

Residents will be advised to avoid using public transport except for essential travel, and the numbers of people who can attend weddings, civil partnerships and funerals should be limited to household members and close family and no more than 20 people.

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Local restaurants will also be encouraged to halt walk-ins, and only seat people who make reservations in advance, up to a maximum of 6 people per table.

Yesterday, the Health and Social Care Secretary and local leaders heard how cases in Oldham reached 103.1 per 100,000 people during the week ending 13 August, with Blackburn and Pendle reaching 95.3 and 75.5 cases respectively.

The sharp rise in cases is in part due to a major increase in testing led by local councils, but as the percentage of people testing positive is also increasing, local data suggests the increase continues to be due to social mixing between younger age groups of 20- to 39-year-olds.

The advice for anyone with symptoms is they must isolate immediately and get a test for free by going online or ringing 119.

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In response to the latest lockdown announcements in Lancashire, Labour Group leader Cllr Azhar Ali said he felt the government was using a 'sledgehammer to crack a nut.'

In a statement this afternoon Coun, Ali said: "I am pleased to see that strict regulations have been lifted in Darwen and Rossendale and I encourage people to stay focused and cautious to continue to keep cases down.

“However, it’s very disappointing that the government continues to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut in regards to other areas of Lancashire. These measures are neither effective nor enforceable and don’t take into account the increase in testing over recent days.

“The test and trace system isn’t working as effectively as it needs to and it should be the main focus of government to improve its success.

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"It still takes four to seven days to get test results so we can’t know accurately the current state of play.

"It’s about time the government took responsibility for this chaos rather than penalising people who are trying to do the right thing and follow the rules.”